head over heels

head over heels

Sonia tells us about the magical moments of her Big Day

ARTICLE BY : Abha Shah


Shiv and I met at the London School of Economics, where we both went to university, which was a decade ago now! We met in the first few days of Freshers week and quickly became good friends.
The proposal was very well thought out - it was a three stage proposal. Shiv had asked me to keep the morning free so I had assumed we were just going for a nice brunch. He took me to 51 Buckingham Gate,  a hotel with a beautiful courtyard. There was a horse and carriage waiting to take us for a ride around Buckingham Palace, and when we returned to the hotel, a car was waiting to take us to the next destination. The driver dropped us off at St James's Park where we were greeted by a butler who handed us a Fortum & Mason hamper. Shiv set up the picnic in a quiet spot under the warm September sun. Finally Shiv had arranged a private screening at Everyman Cinema. It took me a while to realise we were actually watching a film that Shiv had narrated, hired actors to play us, a videographer and a director to put it all together.Shiv had to get permits from each location to film, including the student halls where we met, the LSE library where we studied and the Harvey Nichols restaurant where we went on our first Valentine’s Day date. I was hugely impressed with the lengths Shiv went to, and when he finally popped the question, of course I said yes! We had so many parties in the run up to the Big Day.

There was an engagement party with friends in a London club and also a religious engagement ceremony in Kent, which was attended by some 350 guests. My best friend organised the engagement party and also my extravagant, epic hen where eight of us flew to Coachella music festival in California for a few nights before driving  a Cadillac to Las Vegas where we stayed at the Cosmopolitan. Shiv had his own unforgettable stag in sunny Cancun and Miami. We both held separate Mendhi parties - at mine we booked a choreographer who got all the guests to copy his dance moves - a great way of getting everyone up and involved in the dancing! Now, I’m the first to admit that I’m quite particular and detail orientated so I decided against a wedding planner and planned everything myself with the help of Shiv and our families. In hindsight, this wasn’t the best idea. Planning a 500+ guest wedding and all the other events was no easy task, especially when juggling it with a 12+ hour day job. There’s so much to oversee, which is where having a wedding planner really comes into play. Luckily our  families and some amazing friends were more than happy to help and were one of the reasons everything ran so smoothly.
We chose Kelham Hall in Nottinghamshire for our venue as it’s one of the few Midland based locations that can accommodate over 500 guests without the need for a marquee. I loved the Hall’s domed room which featured exposed brickwork and a vaulted arch that towered over the staged mandap area.

My entrance was to one of my favourite songs 'Teri Ore'. I have three mamas (maternal uncles) and each walked me down the aisle. My cousins threw petals at my feet while I reminded myself to take my time and walk slowly down the aisle rather than rush through it, which is what I had done at my Mehndi and Registry.
We booked Rima Darwash on the strength of her portfolio, which stood out from other photographers. I was looking for something more commercial and less contrived which was precisely what we got. We even had a fun pre-wedding shoot in Brighton and used the photos for our guest book.
While I hugely enjoyed my wedding, I’m very glad to return to a normal routine! Looking back, there aren't many things I would have done differently. The main thing would have been to recruit a wedding coordinator to take away some of the stress of planning. One tip I would offer those who are brave enough to plan their own wedding, even though it sounds obvious, is to remember that on the day, you won't be able to implement your plans yourself because you’ll be too busy getting married! Communicate your plans clearly to a couple of reliable family members or friends so that they can take care of the implementation for you. The day will pass by extremely quickly so try and soak up those magic moments, and most of all, enjoy your Big Day!


Tags : real wedding  hindu  blue  vintage car  rima darwash 
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